I Was So Dope Sick on Fentanyl, My Family Was Ready to Bury Me
After cannabis treatment, my family keeps saying that they don’t recognize me anymore… in a good way!
My name is Wendy and I am 46. I had a serious car accident at the age of 19, which started the surgical process. I’ve had 4 cervical fusions and was also later diagnosed as bipolar. I was also addicted, for multiple years, to opioids and fentanyl.
So, I was on heavy duty medications for multiple years. Everything always works good at first, but then dosage adjustments are made…
I was prescribed Fentanyl 100mug/ Roxicodone30 mg plus Valium, Lyrica, Prozac and other stuff. So many close calls with death from that poison! I was dope sick half the month cause I couldn’t control the addiction anymore.
In July 2015, I’d had enough! Family was talking about “getting ready to bury me.” So I just quit it all (except tapered down from patch cause you can’t just quit that). About 2 weeks into withdrawal I was extremely suicidal and couldn’t deal anymore. I self harmed. My husband immediately said “you’ve gotta start smoking again.” So I did. Not to get high but to get through!
“Not to get High”
I told my pain Dr what I’d decided about the meds, told him that I was smoking cannabis (it’s still illegal here in my state). He understood and said that in 20 years of pain management he’d never had a patient tell him they didn’t want the pills anymore. He tapered me down off fentanyl and I have never looked back. It’s been a little over 2 years and I am no longer on ANY pharmaceuticals at all! My pain is low, blood pressure stays good, anxiety and panic attacks are gone. I can sleep through the night and even keep up the pace with my grandson! My family keeps saying that they don’t recognize me anymore…in a good way! Life is good!
Cannabis saved my life!
From Rxleaf: Opioids and Cannabis
Turning patients off the fentanyl is the silver bullet to eradicating the nation’s opioid epidemic. And cannabis could be that weapon. If used correctly, it can be what economists call a “perfect substitute” for opioids. In fact, cannabis can act as a stepping stone, as we’ve seen, to help wean patients off of fentanyl and into a better, more enriching life.
There’s evidence that cannabis can work in conjunction with opioids, allowing patients to start cannabis while decreasing their dosages of fentanyl or similar products. That happens because, through a happy coincidence, both cannabinoids and opioids block the same sort of pain transmissions in the brain. THC is mediated through delta and kappa opioid receptors within the brain. So replacing fentanyl with a cannabis-based treatment is very similar to the brain, but the cannabis doesn’t bring the nasty side effects that opioids do.
Opioid Side Effects
And make no mistake — the side effects of fentanyl are deeply problematic. Fentanyl causes decreased mental alertness, hallucinations, breathing difficulties, feeling weak, nausea, anxiety, headaches, loss of appetite, insomnia and — maybe worst of all — addiction.
Addiction to fentanyl is a tough road. Not only does the pain relieving power of the drugs begin to wane with increased usage, the body becomes so accustomed to operating with an exaggerated amount of dopamine, that suddenly discontinuing use can lead to severe consequences. Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine, and its withdrawal period is nasty. Quitting fentanyl cold turkey leads to a host of terrible symptoms that can last around a week after the last dose. It gets so bad that many former patients turn to the black market for a fix in order to stop the withdrawal symptoms and resume a more pleasant, if catatonic, life.
How Opioids and Fentanyl Kill People
The addicting power of opioids are what lead to death. As people need more and more opioids to achieve pain relief and scratch their body’s addiction itch, they pop more and more pills until their breathing slows markedly. When that happens, less oxygen gets to the brain and a condition known as hypoxia sets in. Hypoxia leads to a coma or death.
With all of that, why do people still take fentanyl and other opioids? Because doctors prescribe them. Why do doctors do that? Because, for all their faults, opioids really work. They are powerful medicines that provide effective pain relief — the problems with opioids really come with addiction and long-term use. Patients who have short-term pain can use opioids without much risk (unless they’re prone to addiction), but long-term use has led to more than 70,000 deaths per year and ripped the essence away from millions more lives.
Although they both affect the same regions of the brain in similar ways, the biggest difference between cannabis and fentanyl is how they’re made. Cannabis is natural; fentanyl is a man-made potion, that scientists cook up in a lab. That’s why the effects of fentanyl are so severe — it is unnatural, and it is overly strong. And yet it’s only a Schedule II substance while cannabis is Schedule I.